Colder’s “Half Back” Promotion Might Be A Scam

Last night we experienced, first-hand, a denial by a local Colder’s store manager, flat-out refusing to honor advertised sale pricing on merchandise because part of the payment would be made using a “half-back” store credit from a purchase we made at their location earlier this summer.


We were shopping in this particular Colder’s store location last night and overheard several salespeople telling other customers they would have to pay the “redemption price” (the regular, non-sale price) for any item so marked if they wanted to apply any half-back credit they might have to redeem, and that they could not take advantage of the advertised sale price of the item at ALL if they planned on using that credit.

What it means is if you’re trying to pay for an item using a store credit from a previous half-back promotion, they are going to insist you start at the FULL NON-SALE PRICE instead of any advertised sale price for the item, and apply your credit from there.

So, an example… You see a $1200 item on sale for $900. You have a store credit worth, say, $500. Instead of getting that item for $900 – $500 = $400+tax, you’re instead charged $1200 – $500 = $700+tax. Your store credit just lost the amount equal to the sales-pricing discount, and suddenly you’re paying a lot more for the item than you’d (rightfully) expect!

From our perspective, this is stealing or some sort of retail-variety long con.

I have a $500 store credit. You’re a store advertising an item at a sale price of $900. I redeem my $500 credit toward that item, paying the $400 difference, plus any taxes/fees/etc. This is how these things work, Colder’s. Simple.

None of this was making any sense–so we got curious about the details and went to the customer service counter to ask for any actual written information about the promotion.

We were told by both the customer service desk and the summoned sales manager on duty whose name I don’t have in front of me (though we do have his business card; we’ll post names and other details later as necessary) that they don’t have anything in writing detailing the terms and conditions of the half-back promotion.

No written terms or conditions exist for the promotion at all, we were told. How is any customer able to agree to unwritten, unspecified terms like this, exactly? How is this even remotely enforceable? Or legal? There is nothing written anywhere–not on our receipt, nor on any signs or other customer-facing brochures or literature–regarding this credit having any sorts of limitations, exclusions, terms or conditions regarding future purchases, etc, in any fashion.

As mentioned, we have an existing half-back credit from a few months ago and no such conditions were ever presented to us. We were certainly not informed of any such restrictions at the time of our original mattress/box-spring purchase earlier this summer. My wife and I were there, with her parents–so we had plenty of people witnessing the entire transaction.  No language to that effect exists anywhere on our receipt. No written information to that effect was included with our purchase. No store signage indicated this anywhere. Nothing regarding this limitation was presented to us verbally at the time, either. Had we known about any such restrictions, we would likely have not made the purchase we did.

Two of the conditions we were told about at the time were apparently lies anyway: we were told we could only use the credit at THAT particular Colder’s location, and additionally, that if we lost the receipt, we’d lose our credit, period. We still have the business card/name of that original salesperson.

The sales manager we spoke with last night confirmed our salesperson’s original statements to us were incorrect. Apparently–according to this sales manager, anyway–half-back store credits can be used at any Colder’s store, and any transaction/receipt can be looked up as necessary, so while the original receipt is handy, it’s not essential to receive the credit.

If those conditions weren’t true, how do we know these other conditions are true, lacking anything at all in writing, anywhere?

Several times during our conversation last night, this sales manager kept mentioning “our lawyers”. We don’t know if he was attempting to threaten or otherwise intimidate us, but it won’t work. What did happen, though, is we lost out on a chance to take advantage of a pretty big Columbus Day sale. And Colder’s has lost both a sale–so far–and some customer loyalty. Neither come cheap anymore…

We’ve not spoken with anyone higher up than the store sales manager so far regarding this…thievery. We’ll attempt to reach a district or regional representative in the next day or so at the West Allis location.

More on this as we work through it.  In the meantime, buyer beware… Colder’s may be ripping you off.

52 thoughts on “Colder’s “Half Back” Promotion Might Be A Scam”

  1. Just wanted to say HI. I found your blog a few days ago on Technorati and have been reading it over the past few days.

  2. Please keep me updated on the status of this. I was considering making a purchase to receive the half back promotion, but will not if this is the case.



  3. @Dan, @Mike: Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

    @ben: We’ll definitely be following up once we know something more; thanks for visiting. 🙂

    And… if you (or anyone else out there) happens to call or stop by a store in the meantime and see what they say, we’d love to hear about your experience. My guess is you’ll have the same we had…but would love additional experiences that either confirm or refute our experience as Colder’s general policy (or lack thereof).

  4. We were rather busy this past week, but we’ve finally made an initial attempt to contact someone more authoritative or knowledgeable at Colder’s. Despite requesting it, we were not given any direct contact information by the sales manager for his superior(s), so we’re left cold-emailing Colders hoping our situation finds the right person. We’ll see.

  5. My husband and I inquired about this very subject when we went to purchase a sofa and were told the same thing….half off the full price of your next purchase. We asked what they could do for us if we didn’t want the half off offer. They gave us a discount off of the sofa we were interested in (sorry, I can’t remember the percentage). The way we figured it, not only was the half off offer not worth it, but we were locked into buying from Colder’s again. What if we couldn’t find something else there that we liked? When you look at it that way, it really ISN’T a great (or even a good) deal.

  6. N Gleason: Thank you for posting. We still haven’t received any resolution of this issue, after a flurry of initial attempts to contact us, and a little back and forth trying to connect, Colder’s seems to have dropped off the earth as far as our situation is concerned. Needless to say, we’re not pleased with how this happened, or how it’s continuing to fester unresolved.

    I regret having shopped with Colder’s at all at this point. We’re satisified with the mattress and box springs we bought several months ago, but I’m positive it wasn’t worth any of this, in retrospect.

    More worrisome than our own situation is that it’s almost certainly a company-wide problem… happening to a lot of other people who won’t know until they go back trying to get the deal they through they were being promised, only to get the runaround and a Version B or C of the original sales pitch.

  7. Same exact thing happened to my daughter. They purchased a living room set and had $1000.00 cash back to use. They went in to buy a plasma tv and wanted to buy the floor model to save $$. They were told they couldn’t purchase the floor model because it was discounted and they had to pay full price with their 1/2 back coupon. When they went to pick up the TV it was the FLOOR MODEL!! Funny…as I’m writing this Colders has an ad on the radio for 25% cash back!!

  8. I have a 500.00 credit from purchase this summer.I just purchased Maytag frontloader washer and was told that if I wanted to use credit I could not have sale price.I opted for the sale price.Washer was delivered and did not fit under my counter.I have been in contact with sales person and customer service and want to get a refund at this point.Tonight I was told I bought merchandise that was marked lower that floor model and could not be refunded .Sales receipt does say floor model are not returnable or sales greater that 30% off originAl price.I did not purchase floor model and was not aware of any great savings being that I paid 899.00 for washer.I am starting to feel scamed on using half back credit .I have been in twice to purchase items and have opted to take “sale” price because to use credit I would come out overpaying if I purchased item at full price.I am awaiting call back from manager on returning washer.I was also told if I purchased another washer I would have to pay a second delivery charge.I waited 30 minutes in store yesterday to resolve with sales person.I called today and was placed on hold for 25minutes and finally hung up.At this point I no longer want to purchase anything else from Colder,s.They have not been very customer friendly or have they offered any assistance to solve problem.

  9. We are on the verge of purchasing a dining room set from Colder’s for $37xx. The saleman said we would get back $18xx. for which we would buy a tv set.
    This dining room set sells for the same price. elsewhere so it looks to me like a good deal to me….I would get the dining room set PLUS the tv for the price of the dining room set alone elsewhere. What am I not seeing in this picture? Please email me and let me know your thoughts as I was going tomorrow to purchase the set. Thanks so much Dee

  10. @Dee:

    It being the weekend, I only now (around 9:30pm Saturday night) saw your comment; I’m assuming you went earlier today to purchase your dining room set and television?

    How did it go? Would you mind letting me know which location you went to, and if they presented you with all the information about the half-back promotion–particularly if they offered you a written sheet listing all of the terms and conditions of the half-back promotion…something they’re now insisting they’ve always had but we’ve never seen or been offered in more than a year’s browsing at various Colder’s locations.

    What we’ve personally found and heard from others is that they get told one thing by one salesperson when they make the initial purchase getting the credit, and then they’re told something different–and the remaining restrictions are finally revealed–when they go back days, weeks, or months later to actually cash in the credit they received. Since you’re apparently doing this all over one or two days, probably with the same salesperson, this may not be an issue for you, but I’m interested in knowing if everything you were told one day actually ended up being true the next.

    I do hope it went well for you. I’d very much like to hear back from you if you don’t mind. It would be a big help to our readership to know about your experience and assuming it went well and Colder’s didn’t leave you with any surprises, I’m sure Colder’s wouldn’t mind us posting about them having done something right, either.

    Take care.

  11. Hi Alex

    Actually we did NOT go to Colder’s today….just waiting to see if you would write back first.

    Now I am really scared to make this deal at Colder’s….after all the information I read about the company and how they treat their customers.

    The Colder’s we are dealing with is the one just off highway 94 and 100 in Milwaukee….just off the freeway.


  12. @Dee:

    When the salesperson described the Half-Back promotion to you, did s/he offer you anything detailing the promotion’s terms and conditions in writing? Anything on paper at all? You never did say, and I’m very curious about this point in particular from your first visit to the store.

    Also, did you carefully price the TV you’re looking to buy with your credit? Was it competitively-priced as well? Despite it being ‘free’, it may be the overpriced item in your package and a waste of your half-back credit (and a money-saver for Colder’s).

    And was the TV’s price a Colder’s sale price, or their regular, non-sale price? In case they didn’t tell you, they will only let you apply your credit to the TV’s regular, non-sale price, which reduces the value of your credit by the sales-price difference if you decide to use your credit toward its purchase. Despite depicting the credit as “same as cash” in their TV commercials, they will not allow you to spend it anywhere as freely as that.

    The amount of money you’re looking to spend for your entire purchase is substantial, and I, personally, would want to feel very well reassured about the sale itself–knowing I’m getting the best deal possible on good-quality merchandise–as well as any warranty concerns and service issues after the sale. This of course means feeling reassured and comfortable with the company from which you’re buying it all…

    I do not want to be the decision maker in your specific situation, but I will tell you where we stand. Colder’s corporate head of customer service, Sue Lewicki, believes the curt apology we received from her only a week or so ago now resolves our matter entirely, despite us being misled about the half-back credit this past summer and fall, as well as throughout our attempts to resolve it all these last few months.

    The bottom line for us? We will never again spend another dime of our own money at any Colder’s store. We’re also not done fighting with them about it, despite Ms. Lewicki’s apparent belief that her dismissive handwaving has settled everything.

    We do wish you well and the best of luck; hopefully it will all work out for you in the end, whatever you decide. Let us know what happens and how it goes. We will definitely NOT make any value judgments either way; being a consumer these days is hard work, and all anyone can do is make the best decision they can for themselves. It’s unfortunate that retailers exist out there that essentially force a consumer to make uncomfortable choices. 🙁

    Again, good luck and take care.

  13. After reading all what has been written about Colders I started talking to friends about it and lo and behold they too have had problems with Colders products and service.

    I have made my mind up not to even deal with them…..just too scary to plop down $3700. and then end up not being happy with the product or service.

    Thank you for making the public aware of the situation at Colders…..most likely saved me lots of problems in the future.

    Kind Regards

  14. the half back credit can save you money in the long run. the promotion should be used all at once. if you walk out of the store with a credit for a future date, then why didnt you purchase the item at the lower price in the first place? the way the promotion was explained to me is that it can save you money on a ‘package price’. that means that buying multiple items and issueing/redeeming all at once can save money. it saved more money on the multiple t.v.s we bought than anyone else would try to save us. plain and simple, if you want to use the credit to extort a sale item, then dont be surprised when they dont like losing money so you can save a dollar.

    just my $.02

  15. @brett:

    Thanks for the comment.

    Let us first say that we value each and every comment we receive, for or against us. That said, we’re then sorry to say you lost everyone here at “extort”. Are you sure you’ve read everything? Maybe you’re employed by Colder’s in some fashion?

    We certainly acknowledge that there may be people out there who believe they received a great deal from Colder’s and one of their cash-back promotions. We’ve run across very little actual evidence of that, however, and the bulk of your comment, combined with our own research and feedback from all over–and then factoring in your accusation of extortion, of course–well, you might guess your comment has a bit of a…’wrong’ feel to it. We sat on your comment for a while, in fact, just to be sure we were reading it correctly, and to further examine our own perspective a little bit…so we’re sorry for the delay in responding to it.

    We’ll have a little bit more to say about this particular comment from Brett soon.

  16. hi alex,

    boy, i sure wish i had come across your blog before i went shopping at colders! jeez, where do i start?

    on 3/5 i went in to take advantage of their serta ‘full back’ offer. i bought a matteress set for about $1750 (reg price). so then i was able to pick out $1750 in ‘free’ stuff…at reg price. i bought a bed frame (850) a blue-ray (409) and a ’19 tv (400) . not too bad of a ‘deal’. i had to pay less than $50 difference., no big deal. i priced the serta set (online and on sale) for about $1200-1300. so i feel i got a good deal. BUT…..(hear comes the problem) ………..

    ……that night i also purchased a floor model tv for $1150. (reg price was around 1600?) i didn’t receive any cash back because it was clearenced and a floor model. ok, no problem. i took home the tv that night and the next morning when i hooked everything up and turned it on, a blue vertical line from top to bottom, a quarter of the way in from the left, appears on the screen. wtf? i played around with the remote and all the settings to see if that might have fixed it…nope. i called colders and they told me i is probably the cable reception. so i called time warner and set up a time for them to come out and ‘fix’ it. that was on 3/10. just as i though, it wasn’t any problem with the signal. so i called colders for the 2nd about the issue and was told to talk to the salesperson who sold me the tv. of course, he was not there at that time. so i called the next day and was able to speak with him and he said i needed to speak with someone in service, so i was transferred. the person in sales told me i needed to speak with, yet another person, jim who has already left for the day! and won’t be back until monday!! ugh!!!!

    so now, over a week goes by, and its the 6th time i call about this situation with no results. i finally was able to get ahold of ‘jim’ on 3/16 and told him what is going on and basically told him i want to just return the tv. he then has me transferred to another guy, whose higher up, and when he gets on the phone he basically tells me i can’t return it and its per manufacturers policy and that the tv needs to come in to be serviced. they would be able to come to my house to pick it up on the27th or 4/2…lol you have to be kidding!? i told him that i’ll be in that night to bring it in. so, i take it back to colders and told them i’m returning it. the poor girl in customer service/pick-up location didn’t know what to do. she was calling to 3-4 people to get an answer about taking a return and all each and every one of the people she talked to seemed like they didn’t want to ‘help’ or get involved…….

    so, i left the tv there to be repaired, but was told to call the next day (which was today) and talk to the cust. serv. mgr. was told she works from 9-4:30. i called around 1pm and aked for her and was told she ‘left for the day’. boy, if i’m not getting the run around, wtf gives!!!!!??????? now i feel foolish because they have my money AND my tv!

  17. @lisandra:

    Thank you for posting. We’re very sorry to hear this. 🙁 It seems Colder’s is very good at the Long Runaround.

    We would appreciate it very much if you could keep us informed about the status of your situation. A man named Jim and a female customer service manager…sounds very familiar to us; we would love to know more details as you see fit.

    Realize, too, that you may have recourse if you paid with a credit card; you can dispute charges with the bank/credit card company and maybe get the TV charged back and off your account, or other buyer’s protection options depending on your card/bank. Don’t wait too long, though.

    Additionally, if you’re ultimately left unsatisfied, definitely contact the WI Attorney General’s office:

    Good luck, and please keep us informed!

  18. Hi Alex, Just thought I’d let you in on my experience with the Colders halfback promotion Having heard their ad numerous times, and my wife wanting a new washer and dryer (gotta keep Momma happy) I decided to do a little research. Oh did I mention I wanted a new flatscreen ( that was the deal) Anyway I searched Colders halfback (search engines they’re wonderful) and I came upon their website and then your website. I should tell you I have been involved in sales and marketing for 25+ years so I tend to look at these things a little differently then most people. My wife gets frustrated with me watching ads because I always point out things she may not see or hear when watching ads. I read their explaination of their halfback carefully, then I read all your posts and others posts. Armed with all this as well as prices from other stores on the items we liked we went to the West Allis store. My wife wanted the Whirlpool frontload washer and dryer of which we had the best prices of $809.99 each and I wanted the Samsung 52″ LCD which I found the best price of $2399.99. At Colders I found the same models “halfback” priced at $1159.99 each for the washer and dryer and the TV at $3099.99. I asked if they would match the prices I got at other stores and they said if I wanted to they would match the prices bringing my total to $4019.97 or I could take their promotion and pay $3869.97. That was buying the TV at $3099.99 and using the $1550.00 credit toward the purchase of the washer and dryer. That made sense to me. I really don’t care how they get to the best deal, I just want the best deal. Like I said having been in marketing for 25+ years, I know ” there is more than one way to skin a cat ‘. So we made our purchase. I guess I can understand your frustration if the promotion wasn’t explained to you. I didn’t feel that it was decieving, just another way to get to the bottom line. Had they not been able to give me a better deal I would have left, but their bottom line price was the best. My only suggestion to anyone is to look around, shop and then go with the best all around deal. Everyone always has some sort of sale going on. But understand at the end of the day the store has to make money while trying to give you the best deal. Kohls is always advertising 50% 60% 70% off, you know that isn’t off their lowest price or some elses price. A local car dealer is advertising if you buy a new car from them they will give you a used car up to I think $10,000 in value. Now don’t think for a minute that you can run in there with a “down and dirty deal” from another dealer on a new car and they will match it and give you a $10,000 used car. They can’t do it. But if you really need both their total deal MAY be the best. Just thought you may find this interesting as another take on it.

  19. @Jeremy:

    Thanks for writing. We’re very happy to hear you were able to have a good experience.

    You wrote:
    > I guess I can understand your frustration if the promotion wasn’t explained to you.

    Our frustration and anger is because the promotion was explained to us. Or, rather, we thought it had been. We asked all the questions we felt we needed to ask. We were assured multiple times that our understanding of the Half-Back credit was correct in every way.

    We’re not unfamiliar with bold claims or fine print; I’ve personally been around a fair bit myself, too, and am particularly sensitive to ensuring we’re getting a fair shake and the deal as it’s advertised. I’m familiar with all the tricks. We asked all the questions. We got–we thought–all the answers.

    We only learned months later–entirely coincidentally–that what we were told at our original purchase was incorrect. We still do not know if the omissions were deliberate or accidental, but nearly all of the most critical bits of the Half-Back promotion’s fine print were excluded… which leads us to think we were swindled, flat-out. And we’ve been lied to and strung along many times now since. Coupled with Colder’s corporate-level indifference, arrogance,and total unwillingness to honor their word to us–so far–only serves to further support our conclusion and confirm other stories we’ve seen and heard about.

    Also, given Colder’s is a local-area business, we think local consumers need to be educated about the possible if not entirely likely downside(s) of shopping there… and so, here we are.

    Again, best of luck with your purchase. We hope your experience remains positive, we really do.

  20. i used the full back a few months ago it was a great deal you need to know the rules before you buy i bought a bed for 1800 and recieved a 40in flat screen stand and coffee table basicly for free (however we needed the bed anyway) make sure you talk to the people there they will be more than happy to tell you the rules if you dont ask its your bad

  21. Hi Chris. Thanks for writing.

    Glad to hear you managed to have a good experience. You may have missed the parts of our posts about ours, where we’ve indicated we attempted multiple times to make sure we had all info, were told we did, and yet we clearly didn’t. Even now, nearly a year later, we have nothing in writing detailing the terms of the sale we participated in, and we’ve nearly had a different story for every different person we’ve dealt with, all along the way.

    The only “our bad”, ultimately, is having shopped with Colder’s in the first place.

    Thanks again.

  22. I came across your post after going to Colder’s in Grafton but am happy that I am not the only one out there that did not see this as right. Very confusing if you do not do the math, and you are essentially paying a ton more. I did check it out because it piqued my interest, but why buy something overpriced so you can get another thing overpriced? And, I cannot handle people following me around. Worse than car dealers for sure.

  23. @Tanya: Thanks so much for your feedback/comment. Always happy to see another person “get it” regarding Colder’s alleged “sales”.

  24. Hello Alex, I just came out of Colder’s very happy. Your bad purchase expirenece, (which is going on a year now, good god let it go! I would hate to make you upset, you would never forgive and forget) Anyway, we went in to buy a high-end dinning table and chairs by broyhill and a Samsung LED tv. The Dining table and 6 chairs sold elsewhere for $2200. The LED we wanted sold elsewhere for $1800. Thats $4,000 total from others. Colders had the EXACT SAME table and chairs on thier full-back program for $2500. The tv was $2500. And with the full-back, the TOTAL purchase came to $2500. We have had our products for 3 weeks now and love it all and got a price no-one else could touch. It’s nice to see a local business willing to cut margin in such a down economy. Colders has a customer for life and many of my friends are kicking themselves for not making a similar purchase.

  25. @david: Thanks for writing. We’ve heard (and posted) similar stories/comments before. We’ve also previously pointed out the possibility of “perfect storm” circumstances where one might actually manage to come out ahead. If you’ve browsed the rest of the Colder’s posts and comments here, you’ll notice many people don’t just have issues with Colder’s sales practices. They also experience what they generally describe as incredibly poor, often-rude, even non-existent customer service after the sale.

    As it stands with us currently, we’re finally rid of our Cash Back credit, but Colder’s company-wide incompetence, indifference, and just plain arrogance continued right through to the end of it all. Such an ongoing series of mind-blowing missteps at every turn by a larger area retailer like Colder’s–at every level of the company, again–should be completely impossible. We will eventually get around to writing up the conclusion of our year-long fiasco; the last stages of our experience were some of the most ridiculous.

    As for forgiving and forgetting: we’re not the first customers to have terrible experiences that remain(ed) unresolved. We surely aren’t the last, either. Colder’s has not made any effort with us to correct their mistakes or accept any responsibility whatsoever. The behavior we experienced is unforgivable and unacceptable. As long Colder’s keeps up with their bad behavior, we’ll continue highlighting our experiences and those of other Colder’s victims. Ultimately, we have no qualms at all about warning people away from even the smallest parts of what we’ve been through. Why risk it when there are so many other options that provide as-good or better all-around retail sales and service experiences?

    So–very sincerely–congratulations, and good luck with your purchases.

  26. Hello Alex, you keep describing a successful transaction as this “perfect storm” and this is were I cannot disagree with you more. If there is anything that has to do with a “perfect storm”, it’s your situation and the fact that you could not get the help/support you needed. You see Alex, 100’s of people EVERY day make successful transactions at one of the 4 colder’s locations. I am not here to endorse colder’s but the good of this company, far outweighs the bad. Thats just simpy the facts. The “perfect storm” your describing is one that involved your situation, not the one that happens EVERY DAY in which customers find great deals and friendly service at the location. I noticed a wall at a Colder’s location that has nothing but hand written letters from recently satisfied customers. Again, Alex, your “perfect storm” is you and your situation, not every one elses.

  27. I guess I am not really interested in a reply Alex, no need to let me know one is coming. Good luck with your endevors, I am not returning to the site. I appreciate your insight.

  28. I question previous individuals stating that Colder’s is lowering their margins in a time of need or that this is the ultimate good deal. I will admit that at the end of the day this is a ‘good deal’ but only if you enjoy giving Colder’s increased profit margins way above what they should be receiving.

    Our story is that we say a dining room set we loved at $1,200. That qualified us for the “full back” promotion and we would get an additional $1,200 as a store credit. They are also currently having an additional 5% bonus so my credit was $1,300. We wanted to buy a dishwasher with the credit and found a nice Professional Frigidaire we liked that also had great reviews.

    So, the normal price on the Frigidaire was $750 but the “full back credit” price was $1,060 so basically I was giving Colder’s $360 of my credit back as pure profit to them and nothing to show for it. This is in addition to paying a $400 premium price for the dining room set above their normal price.

    Bottom line is that to get my dining room set and a dishwasher, I would be giving Colder’s $710 of my $1,300 credit as pure profit to line their pockets. This is above and beyond the normal profit they receive on the items at the regular prices.

    What’s even better is that Best Buy had the exact same dishwasher on sale for $595 with an instant $20 coupon and they also told me about $100 in rebates Frigidaire was offering so I got the dishwasher for $475. Something our salesman at Colder’s neglected to tell us about…..

    It was smoke and mirrors from the moment we walked in the door. I spent 20 minutes with him on Saturday and another 30 minutes with him on Sunday. I have his scribble card right here in front of me and none of it makes sense. Voodoo Economics. For the record I have an undergraduate degree in Economics and a Masters in Finance and I’ve worked in the Financial Services industry for 20 years. If I can’t make heads or tails out of this, I’m sure non-numbers people would be baffled by it (or just overwhelmed by the slick sales pitch and just buy everything out of blind faith that they are getting a good deal).

    Could I have bought the table at the normal price and bypassed the “full back” promotion? Yes, and the price was $870. However, that was still a normal everyday price with no discounts for the holiday or any sales pricing. Based on my experience this weekend and the smoke and mirrors games, I refuse to give them anything going forward (and I’ve spent probably $5,000 over the years at Colder’s before these types of sales evolved – they used to be a great place to shop).

    All they are doing is marking everything up 25 to 30% above the “normal” prices to create the cushion for the “full or half back” promotions. What they fail to tell you is that you are giving them back the 25 to 30% of your rebate in addition to the profit margins they already have built into the normal pricing. Nothing illegal about it and if they get people to buy from them, good for them – it’s a free market society. However, it won’t be from me anymore. There are way too many other options out there from stores that don’t play games.

  29. @Sparky: Indeed, the fact that you have to start your math with product pricing that no one would ever normally pay–under any other circumstances–should make any sensible consumer extremely skeptical.

    I appreciate your lengthy reply here. It’s well-written, and I hope it helps further explain how “Something More” or “Full Back”, etc. just…. isn’t. I’m also going to promote your comment to a new post, as there are holiday shoppers doing online shopping and searches now that might otherwise miss this comment and make a terrible holiday shopping mistake.

    I’ll add a link here to that post when it’s ready.

  30. Perhaps I’m missing something here, but Sparky’s math doesn’t quite add up.
    And for the record, I have used Colders Full Back program and happen to think it’s a very good deal.
    But anyway, if the “full back” price was $1200 and the “non full back price” was $870 thats a difference of $330. The dishwasher “full back price” was $1060 meaning that with or without the extra bonus credit, the dishwasher would have been paid for using the credit. So according to my math, $330 is actually what the dishwasher would have cost Sparky (the difference of the “non full back” and “full back” price). And last time I checked, $330 is less than $475 (Best Buys final price after rebates, coupons, etc.)
    What am I missing here?

  31. why would Colders give you a DOUBLE SALE? the 1/2 back is the special SALE. Why would you think you would get a sale price and then apply your Double Sale cash back to it?

    i wouldnt expect it…they cant sell products at less than 1/2 price…i am a small business owner and mark up my products 35-40%…ive heard furniture is 100% markup and if you apply 2 different sales they lose money.

    your expecting way to much…your 1/2 back credit was better than the current sale and id be thrilled about it…instead you expect even more….

    I always find in my business that the cheapest customers expect the most…its been reinforced once again….thats why in my business i shoot for the upper middle class and beyond.

  32. @huggytree: No one “expects even more”. We expected exactly what we were told we would receive. And not one thing more.

    It has nothing to do with being cheap or of a certain financial demographic, either. Personal attacks always lack… let’s just call it “finesse”.

    It has everything to do with being honest. Reputable businesses don’t do what Colder’s did to us: lie, cheat, and steal. A position and practice maintained from store salespeon up to and including Colder’s corporate staff.

    You make a promise, you keep that promise. There’s nothing more fundamental and proper in business than that.

    What business is it you run? People of all levels of affluence might like to know who it is that cares so much–or so little, if at all–about them.

    Thanks for your comment.

  33. The way Colder’s ‘serves’ their customers, is exactly how their ‘treat’ their employees!

  34. Several months ago, my girlfriend and I went into the store on 94 and Hwy 100. Our sales guy explained in great detail what was apparently not explained to you up front. When we picked out what we wanted, he ran both the sales and full back prices. He also spent a great deal of time “moving things around” to maximize the full back items vs what we actually paid for. It was quite a bit of work and we were exhausted when we left but we ended up getting a sofa, loveseat, table set, 2 lamps and 40″ LCD for around $3,000. Initially, it was going to be around $4500 with more to spend back but we had what we needed and he found a way to reorganize what we paid for and it made sense to pay a little extra out of pocket.

    We were back recently working with the same salesperson. I’ll have to find his card. Anyway, we were looking at a mattress set and dresser/mirror/chest deal. Initially, it would have been $3500 with $1500 to spend. Again, he reworked it and the total price came to $2900. I feel good about both deals and the furniture was delivered on time as promised.

    I know I’m in the minority here but I had a sales person who made sure we knew the full back was no good on sale or floor merchandise and spent time finding us the lowest price on only what we wanted.

  35. @Brett: Thanks for posting. Glad you feel you got a good deal and were treated fairly. You do indeed seem to be in the minority, though, as you mention.

    Stories like yours, to me, are very rare (and accordingly, difficult to even imagine)–and not just on this website. I don’t know if you read recently about Colder’s buying the Flanner’s inventory and name, but the JSOnline article’s comments don’t exactly give an impression of loads of satisfied customers like yourself.

    I still find the “cash-back” programs–as well as Colder’s itself–essentially customer-unfriendly at their core, but again, if you’re happy, then that’s all that really matters. Thanks again for taking time to share your experiences.

  36. @Ex-employee: I have read in more than one place now that Colder’s is laying off employees like crazy. Is it the economy, or are customers finally finding their voice and making other choices? Or both?

    Since Colder’s doesn’t pay salespeople at all in the first place (sales positions are 100% commission-based), I’m not sure what that really saves them, but clearly Colder’s knows how to squeeze every last bit of blood out of any stones they find, be they customers or their own employees.

    Thanks for your comment.

  37. It is nothing unusual for a company to only allow one sale on an item. It’s not like you can go in to many stores and expect to use a coupon for 50% off as well as one for $10 off. Especially with larger items. Im not getting this. A store needs to make money to stay running. I imagine it’d be hard for a business to run when giving things away below cost.

    In these times, it is sadly the customers job to make sure they are getting the best price possible. It’s unfortunate, but you will run into it anywhere a person is relying on your purchase to make a living. If you see that the sale price would be best, go with that. You are not forced to go with the promotion at this store. Just open your eyes and don’t be so reliant on what others tell you.

    Also, it’s only the customers with bad experiences that are going to write about it. Few people who have had a great experience or an average one take the time to rant about it. They are to busy enjoying their purchases!

  38. @cindy: Thanks for sharing. Your comment has us thinking you may not have read everything that’s been written here about our (and others’) Colder’s experiences. Your position is clearly extremely pro-retailer (“customer-indifferent”, maybe?), which has us thinking that even if you have read the other Colder’s posts and comments around the site, you probably can’t or won’t understand why such negative experiences matter to everyday consumers, how it actually and substantially impacts them, or what the long-term implications are for businesses–smaller local-area retailers like Colder’s in particular.

    You write as if companies and their employees have no obligations or responsibilities whatsoever–ethical, legal, or otherwise–but to their immediate bottom line. That consumers have no rights or reasonable expectations of… anything! This is a position so utterly untenable that one can’t possibly argue against it in any reasonable way. So we won’t.

  39. Thank you for your posts. We were going to look at big screen tv’s at Colder’s tomorrow but after reading your comments we will be shopping elsewhere.

  40. @Al: From our chairs here, that’s a very reasonable and respectable choice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, and best of luck with your shopping, whatever and wherever it might be.

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